3/10/2010

Dewitt Clinton to Vacate

Posted by MJ

I just arrived back from the Lockport school district meeting. Proposed was a 0.52% increase in expenditures and an 11% tax levy increase to cover the loss of state funding this year.

John Pound will be "re-purposed" and Dewitt Clinton will be closed. Average class sizes district wide will go to 22 students per class.

In other cuts:
-not filling 6 retirements at the secondary level
-remove school resource officer (though now covered by grant next year)
-reduce staff professional development
-reduce building supply 20%
-eliminate summer school (mention was made that the students will need to be more responsible)
-reduce academic intervention services provided before and after school
-and some others.

The librarians were saved through equipment cuts and some poverty based grants are being sought to supplement their funding. No salary freezes were discussed on any level. Some of the reserve funds will be drawn down (roughly $3M) though some, like the capital reserve, can only be used for certain purposes.

"Living within our means" was the theme from the supervisor. This will most likely not be the last year of budget struggles. What will the future hold for further alignment of our budget?

Although the school nearest me was proposed for the re-purpose, I still feel Dewitt Clinton should have been saved instead. It has the least going for it in terms of reuse and is probably one of the only anchors in that part of town. It was a disservice not having the city involved in this process.

I'll link the official news stories tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 03/11/10
Buffalo News Reported
LUSJ Reported

7 comments:

Jack Smith said...

I whole heartedly agree DW should have been chosen for re-purposing. Of the two schools, I think the closing of DW will have the greatest community impact. All that being said, I have decided to take a serious look at private education for my 3rd grader, although I don't know how I'll be able to swing it financially. Glad you could make MJ.

Rocketboy said...

""Living within our means" was the theme from the supervisor."

Man.. I wish I had the means that Terry Carbone had.

100k and a a sweet retirement package are some pretty nice means.

Was there any discussion about how there's not a single reason that teachers (not professors) in no way should have tenure, so we can save money when a teacher turns into a drunk abusive to her students?

Rocketboy said...

Oh.. sorry for the double post... but John Pound was a good school to close. There's a newer school just down the street with a lot more property. (Side note, hummm.. do they really NEED all that property? Any word on getting rid of some of it?) Clinton on the other hand, I would really like to see the numbers. It's the only school in lowertown, but, depending on where the population resides, I wouldn't want to say either way.

And how about this as opposed to increasing my taxes. Did anyone receive an automatic raise in the past two years, a time period where large segments of the private sector froze wages, and had hiring freezes?

Maybe something needs to be done about situations like that.

Anonymous said...

Jack, I liked what you had to say at the meeting last night. It took a lot of guts to say it considering the setting. I agree, the union needs to step up and acknowledge the tough times we are facing. Annual raises while schools are closing, programs are being cut, and people are losing jobs is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Be careful about private education--we went down that road at one large local private school and paid for tuition, uniforms, fielded endless requests for extra money for every little event, and ended up pulling our kids out anyway because the music and language programs were inferior to the public schools--practically non-existant. Definitely not worth it. (Think about it: any private school with only the best and brightest kids can boast about excellence. Lockport does very well with their diverse population.) We need to attend every school board meeting to hold our board members accountable, vote the incumbents out, and get a superintendent who is willing to live in our community.

Anonymous said...

Facts to consider...

Superintendent contract to expire 6/30/10.

Supt Salary was increased to $139,725 in 2007. Vacation days (does not include 260 accrued sick days) increased from 25 to 35 per year.

Retiree health benefits for employee and spouse increased to 100% tax payer paid (up from 50%).

Comparable superintendent salaries: Amherst Central--$150,00; Niagara Falls--$155,00; Williamsville--$198,00

Lockport Regional Rankings:
*Property taxes--6th out of 82 WNY districts *unclassified employee benefits--8th out of 82 *operation spending per pupil--34th out of 82
--source: www.seethroughny.com

“We’ve been in lockstep with [Carbone] all the way…as far as I’m concerned, the superintendent’s recommendation is the board’s recommendation.” --Edward Sandell, Buffalo News (Sunday, March 14, 2010)


“All that is necessary for taxes to keep rising is that good men do nothing”
--Edmund Burke (sort of)

Don't blame the Superintendent: who among us wouldn't accept that sweet deal?

Don't blame the Board: They are doing their best

Don't blame Albany: The great piggy bank is empty

We can only blame ourselves for not paying better attention and getting involved...it's not to late to begin!

Rocketboy said...

What?

Of course you can blame the Super. I wouldn't take the same "sweet" deal, nor would I be defending it with silence.
Of course you can blame the board. Nobody is keeping them from speaking with their own voice.
Of course you can blame the state. Do I need to say why?

Hell, the only one you can't blame that much are the voters. There's a old programming germ GIGO. Garbage in, Garbage out. No matter what you do, if you have bad inputs (people to vote for), you get bad outputs (higher taxes).

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